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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 03-16-2005, 07:59 PM   #1
ADA
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Useful tips for changing FUEL FILTER

Changing the fuel filter is very straight forward. It is extremely easy. Follow the numerous DIY on this board regarding changing the OEM fuel filter.

Here are some tips that you might find useful.

1) The fuel filter is located directly underneath the driver seat on the under carriage of the car.

2) There are two ends on the fuel filter. The IN put is toward the gas tank. The OUT put is toward the front of the car. There is an arrow painted on the fuel filter. Just make sure the arrow is pointing toward the front and you will be OKAY.

3) There is a shield protecting the fuel filter from getting all banged up. Use 8mm socket to remove the nuts.

4) After removing the shield, the fuel filter is secured by a bracket. Use a 10mm socket to remove it.

5) The hose are secure by a bunch of clamps. Use a "flat top" screw driver to loosen the clamps. To tighten the clamps use a 7/32 socket or a pair of plier. You CANNOT tigten the clamps with a flat top screw driver.

6) Remove the rubber hose by wedging a screw driver on the rubber hose while pulling and twisting the fuel filter.

7) Be prepare to have lots and lots of fuel leakage. Clean fuel immediately. FUel will evaporate faster when smear around rather than sitting in a puddle.


SAFETY TIPS

1) Change fuel filter only in well ventilated area. I was changing my fuel filter outside and yet I still feel sick.

2) Have a fire extinguisher ready in case. Would you rather take the time to buy or find a fire extinguisher than have your car destroy or blow up?

3) When removing the fuel line or when fuel are leaking out, make sure you priodically ground yourself from static electricity. Just touch all the metal/steal components underneath your car every two-three minutes or so.
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Old 03-18-2005, 02:58 PM   #2
amishbmw
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I just changed my fuel filter last weekend. While simple, it's a pain with all the gas that pours out. Make sure that you have a pan to catch and spills. If you're really smart use a couple of golf tees to plug the lines while getting the new filter ready.

While I love working on cars this is one thing that sucks.
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Old 03-22-2005, 02:22 PM   #3
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clamp the hoses

FYI,
I changed mine last year. I bought red plastic clamps at the auto parts store, they cost me like $3. I clamped both inlet and outlet hoses as close to the filter as possible and kept the filter horizontal while removing it. I didn't have any fuel spill out at all.. Took about 20 min..
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Old 03-22-2005, 03:34 PM   #4
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cool diy. BTW would changing the fuel filter make pressing the gas pedal when accelerating more smooth? These days, when I press down on the gas pedal, I feel a considerable amount of vibration from the pedals.
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Old 03-22-2005, 03:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jaewonder
cool diy. BTW would changing the fuel filter make pressing the gas pedal when accelerating more smooth? These days, when I press down on the gas pedal, I feel a considerable amount of vibration from the pedals.
You're Joking... right!
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Old 05-11-2005, 05:09 PM   #6
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I just replaced my fuel filter, and had some more tips.

I depressurized the fuel system by pulling fuse 54 and running and revving the car until it died. This resulted in very little fuel spillage, what was spilled was just what was in the old filter. As I emptied the old filter, all the gas had black stuff in it, along with small particulate matter, like sand. The hose clamps are a bit difficult to close when they are covered in fuel, but you must use a pair of pliers. After everything was buttoned up, I let the car sit with the key in position 2 for a few seconds to build up the fuel pressure, but I still had to crank it twice. My service engine soon light was on, and the engine was running very roughly and had a significant loss of power. After driving around for about five min., everything was fine. The light went out and the engine was running smoother than before. Also, it seemed as if the engine was a bit peppier than before as a result of the new filter. I have just over 65K miles, so anyone in that mileage might want to replace theirs as well.
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Old 05-22-2006, 06:35 AM   #7
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As a protest to e46fanatics.com I am no longer providing FREE technical assistance and FREE installation on my DIY.

To those people that I assisted in the past, it was fun meeting and working with you. For everyone else, I am sorry. People on e46fanatics nowadays care more about the OFF TOPIC page then contributing or helping members out.
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Old 06-14-2006, 11:28 AM   #8
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have to change mine soon
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Old 08-01-2006, 02:07 PM   #9
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How much clearance do I need to change the fuel filter? Do you guys think rhino ramps (~+8inches) on the fronts be enough to do this?

Here's approximately what it looks like (my car is just slightly lower):
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Old 08-01-2006, 03:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Mikaly
How much clearance do I need to change the fuel filter? Do you guys think rhino ramps (~+8inches) on the fronts be enough to do this?

Here's approximately what it looks like (my car is just slightly lower):

Yeah that should be enough. I did mine before I lowered the car and didnt even need to lift it. Heck if your driveway has a slight slope in it you can put the back wheels in the street and the front on the driveway making a perfect gap under the car to get to it.
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Old 08-01-2006, 03:48 PM   #11
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Perfect. Thanks for the info yogo_jonzo.
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Old 12-28-2008, 09:15 AM   #12
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tried changing my fuel filter today. no joy, i just couldnt get the rubber hoses off the filter. tried prying it with a screwdriver, thin nose pliers, nothing helped! they were wedged on solid. maybe i just didnt have enough space to get enough leverage as the car was on jacks. not a happy bunny, was hoping i'd get it sorted today
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:00 AM   #13
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Great write up guys. thanks for the tips.

What size hose was purchased? Are they bmw specific or?
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:39 AM   #14
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Im sure you can go to your nearest auto parts store and find the right size. I did this yesterday hoses looked fine so I just used 3 new clamps. Hardest part was taking the off the hoses from the old filter and probably leaked a 1/4 of a liter of gasoline.

Tip: Before you remove the old fuel filter you may want to mark on the new filter F for front R for rear and B for bottom (or mark an arrow or I for inside)to avoid possibly installing it the wrong way.


5 VACUUM HOSE BLACK 3,3X1,75 part # 51731257971 (per pelicanparts.com)
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Old 01-08-2008, 12:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jonny05 View Post
Im sure you can go to your nearest auto parts store and find the right size. I did this yesterday hoses looked fine so I just used 3 new clamps. Hardest part was taking the off the hoses from the old filter and probably leaked a 1/4 of a liter of gasoline.

Tip: Before you remove the old fuel filter you may want to mark on the new filter F for front R for rear and B for bottom (or mark an arrow or I for inside)to avoid possibly installing it the wrong way.


5 VACUUM HOSE BLACK 3,3X1,75 part # 51731257971 (per pelicanparts.com)
jonny

Did you use regular screwdriver type clamps? Were you able to clamp down the lines? I have bought some of those red $3 clamps and I am thinking of maybe using them. Are there rubber hoses on both sides of the filter?

I believe I did read somewhere that the older 46 models (mine is 98 production) only have one hose in and one hose out. Anybody care to confirm that?
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Old 01-08-2008, 01:18 PM   #16
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jonny

Did you use regular screwdriver type clamps? Were you able to clamp down the lines? I have bought some of those red $3 clamps and I am thinking of maybe using them. Are there rubber hoses on both sides of the filter?

I believe I did read somewhere that the older 46 models (mine is 98 production) only have one hose in and one hose out. Anybody care to confirm that?
I bought the clamps from Tischer bmw which are both I believe. There are rubber hoses on both sides 3 are the same size.

Best thing to do is go underneath and check it if you are unsure but according to Pelicanparts one in and one out for your model.
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Old 04-05-2008, 08:10 PM   #17
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OK, I just did this on my 2000 323I with a build month of May 2000 and 85K miles. All of the information and insights from this and other forums/web sites was very helpful. I don't normally work on my cars, but I really don't like to pay the $160/hr. BMW shop fee here in South Florida so I've become a DIYer for PM. I did run into one major issue that I will discuss in item 5 below. Here are some things I ran into and how I overcame them as a novice. I'm sure many of you will and can do better.

1) My filter has only one inlet and outlet so that made it a bit easier than those with multiple hoses. I do not know if mine had been changed before, but the one that was there was a Bosch. I replaced it with a Wicks(sp) filter I bought at the local parts store. Maybe not the best, but I'll be changing it again in 15,000 miles so I'll put a Bosch on then.

2) The filter was further into the center of the car than what I had imagined from the info I'd read. Even the Bentley manual did not give a good description of the location. It is about 1.5 feet in from the left edge of the car, slightly aft of the forward jack point on the left side under the driver. I took the protective shield completely off as it didn't look like it would bend without breaking. Be advised that on my car there was a protective shield over something that is very close to the left underside of the car. This is not the fuel filter.

3) I purchased some replacement hose clamps (2) at the local BMW dealership ($1.73/ea), but I did not replace the hose sections. Everything looked very good and very clean before I got started. It was not a problem at all to loosen or tighten the hose clamps using a flat-head screwdriver. Getting the bracket off was quite easy as well. I found that turning the filter made it easier to get it off the hoses.

4) Even though I had pulled the circuit breaker for the fuel pump (#54) and turned the engine over as much as possible there was still a fair amount of residual pressure in the line. DO NOT forget to wear eye protection and have kitty litter ready to put down to collect fuel. I had my pan to collect the fuel, but the pressure did spray it around a bit. Once the fuel started coming out in a stream I left everything in place (filter still partially inserted in to the hoses) and let the fuel and pressure bleed off. While I was waiting I remembered I hadn't opened the gas cap so I did that, but I don't know if it made any difference. Once the fuel was just dripping out I then completely removed the hoses. This caused a very short burst of air and fuel to come out, but it wasn't much. All in all I got maybe two or three cups of fuel on the ground and in the catch pan. I got more out of the filter once I had it off and in a bucket. That fuel was dirty and had shiny specs of something floating in it. The dirty fuel came from the input side.

5) Installing the filter and hose clamps was easy and as I said I was able to use a flat-head screwdriver to tighten the clamps. The real problem arose while trying to get the filter bracket back around the new filter and onto the car. The old and new filters have a hard rubber "sleeve" around the middle where the bracket and car body is going to touch it. I assume this is to protect the filter from rubbing against the bracket and the underside of the car. The new "sleeve" isn't pliable so the bracket would not easily wrap around the filter and onto the threaded post on the bottom of the car.

To make a long story short I wasn't able to get enough force on the bracket to put it over the threaded post let alone keep it in place long enough for me to get the nut on. I did get it on once, but as soon as I released pressure it slid back down the post. This made me nervous, as I didn't want to strip the threads. After a very frustrating hour or so I decided I had to do something similar to what I'd done to get my disposal in place under my sink - I used the floor jack to push the filter up and keep it in place while I put the nut on. (My car was on jacks in the front.) I placed a piece of wood on the floor jack and positioned it so the wood only pushed up on the filter and bracket and not the car. It's amazing what a little leverage will do! This worked well and in no time I had the bracket securely in place.

The rest of the process was as others have described. Based on the fuel I got out of the output side I'd say it was doing its job. Thus, I probably didn't need to change it, but it was a good experience none-the-less. It may be just wishful thinking, but I sensed smoother and more responsive acceleration after changing the filter. I hope this posting helps someone even if it was a bit long winded.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:09 AM   #18
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An addendum for fuel filter DIY... I used this link and...

http://bimmerinfo.com/diy/fuel-filter/

If you have the later car with the fuel clamps that can't be tightened with a socket or with a screwdriver...the key tool is a 5.5mm ignition wrench. I used a craftsman from a small set sold in a vinyl pouch. The clamps only have 2 flats, not six. Once I figured that out the only problem was what size. I guess any 5.5mm open end wrench would work fine.
Also, I couldn't figure out how to get the shield off without going really far into the interior, (didn't bother trying) it appears to be screwed in from the driver foot area, really odd. The only way is to bend it out of the way. BTW my fuel pump makes less noise now on startup. My car has 68k miles.

Oh PS, my 2 local dealers say they do NOT do a fuel pump at inspection 2, unless you ask & pay for it, it's not included with the maintenance program. This DIY took roughly 1 hour including getting the ramps out, etc. from start to finish. I need a shower now!
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Old 06-18-2008, 01:16 PM   #19
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Just did mine for the first time using this DIY and the one on the link... Took me 40 mins or so to do! Next time it will take no more than 30 mins for sure!!! It appears that my hoses (or pieces of hoses) will need to be replaced very soon... I did not feel like driving to the auto parts store but I will be changing them very shortly!

Again... the procedure for the change is very straight forward and full of common sense (you cant do something until you have completed something else!).

I hate those lil clamps... Its stupid that you can only unscrew them with a flat head screwdriver but you cant put them back using the same flathead... You must use a plier!!! I PLAN ON CHANGING ALL CLAMPS TO NORMAL FLATHEAD SCREWDRIVER ONES WHEN I REPLACE MY HOSES because it is really annoying knowing that your job is done but it takes longer to tighten them clamps again than it did to change the filter! LOL

Anyways... THANKS AGAIN TO ALL WHO CONTRIBUTED to this DIY. It was VERY HELPFUL!

Migz
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:36 AM   #20
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did you guys buy the fuel filter at the dealer? How much is it?
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